Coloring Outside the Lines
I’m not a mom. And although I may have animals, I’m not their mommy either. My own mother (above, at age 3) is deceased and has been for over a decade. So while I have a wonderful mother-in-law who has in every way has been like a mother to me for 32 years, more often than not I end up feeling a bit melancholy on Mother’s Day. Not because I’m feeling sorry for myself, but because I feel excluded. For the most part, anything that has to do with women or being a woman includes me, welcomes my camaraderie. It doesn’t really matter what my position might be; I can agree or disagree with a variety of topics that weigh on a woman’s heart and I’m still a player on the team. Except on Mother’s day. On that one day I’m shoved aside, expected to worship women everywhere based on the virtue of their being or having been a mother.
There was a time in my life when I felt I needed to be apologetic for choosing not to procreate. To breed. To mother. Times were different then, the choice to opt out on a family was seldom done without having to dodge lots of questions. Certainly, you want to be a Mom, no? (No) Perhaps you’ll change you mind later, right? (No) Obviously there must be something wrong with your …. ahem … baby-making apparatus? (No) Perhaps you were abused as a child? (No) The truth of the matter was, I didn’t have any maternal drive. None. Nada. Zip. It wasn’t a matter of finding the right man or getting my priorities straight. I didn’t want to be a mother. I never closed my eyes and pictured myself in a cozy little house with a white picket fence, holding a cute little baby in my arms. That picture horrified me, made me break out in a sweat and want to bolt for the hills. I thought I’d get over it, was told time and time again that I would, but I never did.
So why the melancholy when Mother’s day rolls around? I dunno. I know it’s really nothing more than an overblown Hallmark Holiday designed to sell cheesy gifts and cards, boost restaurant business until the next big food holiday. I can (and do) try to honor my Mother-in-law and the memory of my own mom and applaud my sisters and the hard work they’ve done to raise their own children. But what about all the men and women who don’t get any recognition simply because they haven’t raised a child? Are they any less noteworthy? Are there any non-mother’s day cards? Sorry you’ve lost your mom holidays? Non-mother’s day celebrations? I don’t think so. Which means countless men and women are often forced to endure Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) festivities stuffing our feelings and pretending it’s a special day for those who might feel dishonored if we didn’t make an effort to fake it.
I was fortunate to have read this today. It really hit home. I’ll have to try to remember to read it again next year, hopefully earlier in the day before all the Hallmark propaganda sucks the joy out of a perfectly nice spring day.